Duterte Youth's Cardema appeals cancellation of party-list nomination

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – Duterte Youth chairman Ronald Cardema continues to gun for a congressional seat as he filed on Tuesday, August 13, a motion for reconsideration asking the Commission on Elections (Comelec) en banc to reconsider the cancellation of his nomination as the party's first nominee.

"It is respectfully prayed of this honorable commission that this motion for reconsideration be considered granted and that the...resolution of the 1st Division be reconsidered, reversed, and set aside," Cardema said in his petition, a copy of which was given to media on Wednesday, August 14.

The Comelec 1st Division earlier voted to cancel Cardema’s nomination last August 5, after he was found to be over the age limit required to represent the youth sector in Congress.

Based on Republic Act No. 7941 or the Party-List System Act, representatives of the youth sector must be at least 25 years old, but not more than 30 years old on Election Day. Cardema is 34 years old.

Despite the filing of a motion for reconsideration, Comelec Commissioner Rowena Guanzon said that as far as she is concerned, Cardema was disqualified from becoming a party-list representative in the 18th Congress.

"It's an open and shut case. Cardema is disqualified.... I don't know who is giving him legal advice, but anyway, the commission en banc will rule on that," Guanzon said in an interview on Wednesday. (READ: Comelec's Guanzon: Cardema bid 'clear attempt' to circumvent law)

Guanzon has been consistent in her stand on Cardema's bid. She earlier raised questions on his nomination and was the lone dissenter in the Comelec ruling that decided to give due course to Cardema's application for substitution.

While the Comelec 1st Division ruling is a setback for Cardema, it remains to be seen how the commission en banc will act on his appeal. Fearing a reversal, groups called for "vigilance" over Cardema's congressional bid.

New nominees in limbo: Meanwhile, Guanzon said the poll body has yet to act on Duterte Youth's second filing of new substitute nominees following the cancellation of Cardema's nomination.

The Comelec en banc was supposed to tackle the matter on Wednesday, but Guanzon said it was deferred to another week to be studied. A particular issue, she said, was the timing of the second withdrawal and filing of new substitute nominees.

"One of the primary issues is whether or not they can submit a new list after [Election Day], May 13. Now, once we determine that, we can move on to the other issues like whether they are qualified or not," she said.

Guanzon added: "As far as I'm concerned, that is the way I'm going to vote. May 13 is the deadline, you cannot extend that. That's in the law."

Duterte Youth's moves have been opposed by former poll chair Sixto Brillantes Jr, election lawyer Emilio Marañon III, and youth group Millennials PH, who earlier challenged – and won – their bid to cancel Cardema's nomination. – Rappler.com

Sofia Tomacruz

Sofia Tomacruz covers foreign affairs, the overseas Filipino workers, and elections. She also writes stories on the treatment of women and children. Follow her on Twitter @sofiatomacruz. Email her at sofia.tomacruz@rappler.com.

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